May 26, yesterday, was John Wayne’s birthday. We celebrated by watching Donovan’s Reef.
My favorites are McLintock!, In Harm’s Way, True Grit, Hellfighters, Hatari! and The Alamo. No matter what character he played in his movies, a soldier, a cowboy, rough neck firefighter, he was always playing John Wayne. You always knew what you were getting.
Duke was a very patriotic man. His best quote “It’s kind of a sad thing when a normal love of country makes you a super patriot. I do think we have a pretty wonderful country, and I thank God that He chose me to live here.”
I thank God that he chose for him to live here and make movies for us to enjoy. This is a man who so wanted to tell the story of the Alamo and people fighting for their freedom, that he re-mortgaged his home and made it with his own money.
Many people don’t know how generous the man was. One time, when he was in the hospital, he got to know one of his fellow patients. This man wasn’t very well off. After Wayne was discharged, he arranged to have his new friend’s medical bills covered.
He was so generous, in fact, that he couldn’t afford to retire and continued to make movies until age 69.
The inscription on the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to him in 1979 reads, simply, “John Wayne, American.”
His birthday should be a national holiday. Happy Birthday Duke!